Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Powering up Northwest LNG prospects part of Committee debate for Skeena's Ellis Ross

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross participating in a Legislature Committee session
on Energy Mines and Resources Monday, seeking more information on
the NDP government's plans for LNG in the Northwest

The  theme of expanding on British Columbia's LNG footprint made for a portion of a Monday afternoon session for the Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Committee Session at the BC Legislature.

As part of the discussion on themes of a second LNG plant in the Kitimat region, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross provided for a number of questions for Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall, with the Skeena MLA seeking some further information on how the province plans to power up a proposed Kitimat LNG terminal proposed by Chevron.

LNG Canada is basically a done deal in my mind. It's time to start building. Kitimat's buzzing. Terrace is buzzing. So I want to shift my attention now to the Chevron project, KM LNG. I won't take too much of your time. I just want to know a couple of things about KM LNG. Where I'll start is the consultations around the hydro line.

We'll need a new power line. The existing line is not enough. But there's been extensive work put into consultations for that line already, including the right-of-way. It's already approved. The consultations have been done. So in terms of getting the power to Kitimat for the Chevron project, will consultations start all over again, or will they just pick up where they left off?

In reply, the Minster observed how BC Hydro is currently working with Kitimat LNG as to what is required in the way of service to best meet the needs of the industry in the region.

An answer that did not seem to deliver quite what Mr. Ross had hoped for.

That is not my understanding. I've been at that file for the last ten years, and I actually carried out the consultation on behalf of my band. The existing line, that I was aware of, could service the existing need in Kitimat already, and they changed the plan from replacing it to refurbishing the existing line, which continues to serve the existing need.

It was my understanding that Chevron going to e-drives, fully, would need a brand-new line. Unless the minister is saying that the existing line can service both LNG Canada as well as Chevron, then maybe we don't need the proposed line that we've actually consulted over the last — what? — four or five years. Which is it? Is the existing line sufficient for both projects?

Ms. Mungall expanded on  the Hydro notes, outlining how the current study will determine the path moving forward and what kind of consultation will be required.

My understanding is that the upgrades that have been identified and that are going to be taking place will be enough to serve LNG Canada, which has a very large load. For Kitimat LNG, which is going to be an even larger load demand…. The process that they've started is called formally entering the queue for study. So they are doing a formal study with B.C. Hydro to determine exactly what their needs are and how best those needs can be met. In terms of the upgrades, that's a separate issue, and that is for LNG Canada.

Will there need to be a new line? Perhaps. That is going to be determined as part of this study. Once the study is completed in terms of what their needs are, that will determine the type of consultation and if any new consultation will need to take place going forward. The existing consultation that was already done, which I understand the member participated in and led for his community…. That isn't going to all be tossed away and started from scratch. My understanding is that will also form part of any future consultation.

Mr. Ross followed up on the theme with observations and questions related to potential agreements and incentives, something which the Energy Minister noted were best to be asked of the Finance Minister.

For his last question during the committee session, the Skeena MLA inquired if the NDP government has had a change of mind about the decision to cancel the annual LNG conferences the the previous Liberal government had hosted.

The LNG conference that was put on by the B.C. government over the past number of years has been actually stopped by this government. It's the question of the day. It's the issue of the day in B.C. It's actually opened the door to LNG Canada's four trains, above its initial two trains. 

 Now we're talking about Chevron actually expanding to 18 million tonnes per annum, as well as Cedar LNG. Pacific Traverse Energy is exporting propane, a by-product of LNG. It just seems to make sense that the B.C. government bring this back as a conference. Is the minister aware of or actually talking about bringing back the B.C. LNG conference to Vancouver?

In reply, Minister Mungall noted that she stands by the governments decision not to host such gatherings, noting that they are sponsoring an industry event later this month, with the Canada Gas and LNG Conference taking place in Vancouver from May 21 to 23.

You can review the full transcript of the Committee session here with the line of questions from the Skeena MLA starting at the just before the 5:30 PM mark.

The video of the Committee session can be reviewed here.

For more items of note related to the work of Northwest MLA's in the Legislature see our archive page here.

Notes on the Chevron Project proposed for Kitimat can be explored here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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